Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here I am alone with Thee

Written in the Bible I used in college is this inscription:

"O my Lord, the stars are shining and the eyes of men are closed, and kings have shut their doors, and every lover is alone with his beloved, and here I am alone with Thee... O my Lord, if I worship Thee from fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me thence, but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, then withhold not from me Thine Eternal Beauty."

It was written by Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya (c.717-801), a Muslim mystic.... If only all my young Christian friends had such passion!

Like the Apostle Paul who wrote, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. ...he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."

In a selfish, selfish world we no longer live for ourselves. And why?

For Christ's love compels us.


Anonymous said...

I’m glad you were able to find that quote. It is ever so wonderful when you find an expression that so well puts the ideas floating around in your head, which you somehow cannot sum up, into a really coherent, poignant quote. The other day I came across the quote “So familiar in such a unique way” and thought, oh, that’s what I want my art to be. Sawa

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I don't think I agree with the quotation, I am afraid.

Why would one love God except for the benefit it brings to oneself?

I dont really understand this way of thinking.

God Bless


Laurie Elliot said...

Sarah, you're positively eloquent today!

And Matthew, you have plenty of company or I wouldn't have written this entry... but that scares the socks off of me.

It makes for a very tenous Christianity when we can only keep going as long as the benefit is obvious.

And what about people? If we apply the same concept there - we won't be very loving when love is most needed!

Laurie Elliot said...

PS Matthew, I will admit I'm not quite willing to say "then burn me in hell" - but the general concept of loving God without thinking in terms of "its working" or "not working for me" is so important.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Have you ever read John Piper's book 'Desiring God'?

I have big disagreements with his theology, but I agree with the general thesis of that book. That is that we cannot separate loving God from the enjoyment of Him. He also deals with the question of how we enjoy loving others.

Every Blessing in Christ


Linda said...

I found it an extremely convicting quote- I came to Christ because of a "fear of hell" (I have heard a sermon about the 5 motivations to come to Christ, and that was one of them) and the hope of heaven helps me to hang on for "but an inch of time remains, and then eternal ages roll on forever" (McCheyne) And especially lately I have been seeing my self-motivation in everything I do. I hope that I can love God just for who He is!

Luke Elliot said...

Dear mom,

like you, I would cut out the self-imprecations ("burn me in hell"; "exclude me thence") since they only amount to dangerous grandstanding and a lack of humble submission to mercy and grace. The main point is bang on, though--a doxological understanding of God's eternal purpose in His relationship with His creation. Soli Deo Gloria

Linda said...

I wonder how many people would see the self imprecations as "dangerous grandstanding"? Awesome insight, Luke (I don't think we've ever met)

Laurie Elliot said...

Matthew, I haven't read Piper but I really believe that we should "enjoy God"! Like marriage - it's not all about rules and duty! They are just the safety net (that one hopes not to need!)

My salvation experience ran something like yours Linda - motivated by fear of hell and hope of heaven by turns. But I wouldn't want to end there - like a marriage of convenience where no love ever grows!

And Luke, now you're the eloquent one. I like that "dangerous grandstanding and a lack of humble submission to mercy and grace." (BTW, you really should spend a few days at Tak and meet my friends, like Linda.)

John O said...

That is a great quote and it is something I have been thinking about in terms of why we do things on earth, what is our motivation?

[Sermony Rant Alert!!!]
In Matthew 6 Jesus tells us to store up treasure in heaven, but I fear we misunderstand what kind of treasure he is talking about... we get the idea that working for Christ gets us reward in the next life... more crowns...
But we can't worship God and money, likewise we surely can't worship God and heavenly crowns too!
Our treasure is what is most dear to us, money, belongings, places, family, friends. Jesus is saying our first and foremost treasure must be Him, not our family or our friends or our money or anything else here on earth.
Like Calvin said, man is an idol factory, and longing for heaven or fear of hell can be an idol if it is placed in more importance than God. We'll end up treating Christ as nothing more than a ticket out of hell and into heaven...

[Rant over!]

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

John O, I think you would have a difficult time supporting your view of rewards given the enormous number of references to seeking crowns, rewards, treasures, prizes and inheritance in heaven.

Certainly, the greatest treasure of heaven is to be eternally with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, all believers posess this right unconditionally. Everyone who is in Christ will ever be with the Lord.

However, the Scriptures consistently point to an inequality of rewards among resurrected believers, as seen in the parable of the pounds/ talents and Paul's teaching on the judgment seat of Christ.

God Bless


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I hope things are going well today, Laurie.